Summary Offences in Brisbane
The Queensland Summary Offences Act 2005 creates a range of summary offences which are generally designed to maintain good order in the community, particularly in public spaces. Summary offences are minor criminal offences that are finalised in the Magistrates Court (or Children’s Court where the accused is a juvenile). Some carry short periods of imprisonment as the maximum penalty; others fine-only offences. This article outlines summary offences in Brisbane and the rest of Queensland.
Summary offence or indictable offence?
A summary offence in Brisbane and the rest of Queensland is an offence that is finalised in the summary jurisdiction (Magistrates Court or Children’s Court). Example of these include public nuisance, trespass and common traffic offences such as drink driving and driving while unlicensed or disqualified.
By contrast, an indictable offence is an offence that can be finalised in the summary jurisdiction with the consent of defence and prosecution. These include offences such as assault, aggravated assault, theft and burglary. These offences can also be committed to a higher court and finalised on indictment. When this occurs, the penalty imposed in likely to be more severe than the penalty that would have been imposed in the summary jurisdiction.
Common summary offences in Brisbane
The below are some common summary offences in Brisbane.
Public Nuisance is an offence under section 6 of the Summary Offences Act. It carries a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment. A person is guilty of public nuisance if they behave in a disorderly, violent, threatening or violent way and that behaviour interferes with another person’s enjoyment of or passage through a public place.
A first offence of public nuisance is generally dealt with by an infringement notice (on the spot fine). If the infringement is paid, there will be no need to go to court and no conviction recorded.
For repeated offences or particularly serious offences, a person may receive a heavier penalty such as a fine or even imprisonment.
Trespass is an offence under section 11 of the Summary Offences Act. It carries a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment or a fine of 20 penalty units. A person can be found guilty of trespass if they entered or remained in a dwelling or place or business and had no right or justification for being or remaining there.
Trespass is commonly dealt with by a fine or good behaviour bond. For repeated offences, more severe penalties may be imposed, including imprisonment. Trespass cannot be dealt with by way of an infringement notice.
Urinate in a public place
Urinate in a Public Place is an offence under the Summary Offences Act. It is punishable by a fine only but may result in a criminal conviction.
An offence of urinating in a public place may be dealt with by way of an infringement notice.
Under section 8 of the Summary Offences Act, it is an offence to beg in a public place. It is also an offence to cause or encourage a child to beg in a public place or to solicit donations of money or goods in a public place. There are exceptions where the person concerned is authorised by a local charity or is authorised by a local government to busk.
The maximum penalty that applies for this offence is a fine of 10 penalty units or six months imprisonment.
It is an offence under section 9 of the Summary Offences Act to wilfully expose one’s genitals in a public place without a reasonable excuse. The penalty for this offence is a maximum of a fine of two penalty units or, if circumstances of aggravation exist, of a fine of 40 penalty units or imprisonment for one year. A circumstance of aggravation for this offence exists where the offence is committed in order to embarrass or offence another person.
Drunk in a public place
It is an offence under section 10 of the Summary Offences Act to be drunk in a public place. This can lead to a fine of two penalty units.
If you require legal advice or representation in relation to summary offences in Brisbane or the rest of Queensland or in relation to any other legal issue, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.